20 Years High Tech Partner, Channel & Alliances experience. Always in commercial roles in EMEA. Growing businesses from $50K to $5M. Experience & knowledge from different perspectives: vendor, distributor, reseller, sales agent, system integrator and consultancy.
There is an alarm bell ringing in my head, when I read your post.
First question: why is he willing to give up 50% of his profit?
He might have a very good reason, but you need to know what that reason is.
His answer might be: "I want to lie all day long on the beach drinking Pina Coladas, 40% is fine thank you very much"
That is OK, as long as you are comfortable with it.
PS: I sold 66% of my company, clearly stating to my associates what my expectations were and asking them for theirs. This is working out pretty well.
Go to all potential partners, although you might find the smaller ones easier to approach.
As someone mentioned, your sales pitch is basically selling the time to market & resources. If the feature is strategic, expect they will try to develop it themselves; if not, you are in with a shot.
For the first meeting, I would not spend too much time on NDA's & patents, however I would only talk about the overall solution and partnership. DNA's and patents will become important for the following meetings.
Go for it. The worst you could do is do nothing.
PS: I think you will be pleasantly surprised on how much you will learn on your potential partners / competitors.
First of all I would read with great attention all the comments made so far... And take the few pointers you are missing.
Then I would practice, practice and practice some more. Be ruthless with on another, ask really difficult and annoying questions to eachother.
Finally, guys, you are telling a story, your story... So don't forget to enjoy the moment.
You are effectively hiring your boss.
You want the best boss you could ever dream of. It's your company, so you can do what you want. Furthermore, you hired your people, so if you get along with him/her, so should your people (in theory off course).
Obviously you want someone that understands your proposition, knows the US market and I would say Europe. The more they know, the faster they can get you there.
Last but not least, you want someone commercial and not just a sales person.
I hope this helps, good luck.
I think you have answered your own question:..."it could have a negative effect". So let's assess the risk.
As James Goldsmith said: "if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys". This is particularly true in sales.
Let's just follow this logic for a moment. If you pay an agency $4/hour, they probably keep $2 and are willing to part with $2. Assuming the telemarketer gets paid $2 an hour; $16 a day MAX; they HAVE to come from the deprived countries. Is there English good enough? Are they aware of local culture? Are they going to stay motivated?
This is very likely to have a negative effect on your brand, which is never good. No shortcuts I'm afraid.
Good luck though.